Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Man Who Was Bush

Posted by Adam Graham on January 21, 2007

George W. Bush is still the President of the United States, but these days, he hasn’t been acting like it. That once-reassuring confidence is gone. Left behind is what those of us who didn’t support the President in the 2000 primaries feared most: an uneasy and uncertain presence in the White House.

His approval numbers are at an all-time low. Some have vainly tried to rally conservatives to stand behind the White House, but to no avail. These days, the White House is on defense, constantly. The message is muddled and confused, and the boss is a shadow of his former self.

Maybe, Bush’s confidence was shaken by the mid-term elections. After all, 2006 was the first election he lost since 1978. The immediate reaction to the November elections of jettisoning Donald Rumsfeld showed the formerly unflappable President had been shaken by the voters ire.

Now, the White House has declared itself open to raising taxes as part of a Social Security Reform package. By doing so, he would join his father in breaking a pledge against raising taxes, and could do great harm to Republican chances in 2008.

It’s a sad state of affairs. American is now left with a president with shattered self-confidence, who at this stage of his presidency inspires nothing. He’s uncertain figure twisting in the wind. He’s either unwilling or unable to find the courage needed to fight on. Every time, he tries he loses steam. The last half of his presidency, with the exception of the confirmation of Justices Roberts and Alito, has been one of the most hapless in American history.

This contrasts with a first term where Bush was focused, locked in, and unshakable. Neither America nor the rest of the World is helped by the new wimpier Bush. If he wants and expects people to follow him the last two years of his presidency, then he must present a vision worth following and draw firm lines in the sand with the Democratic Party. Contrary to the popular thinking on Capitol Hill, the election of Pelosi and company does not invalidate Bush’s re-election. He has the full power of his office and enough Republican votes in Congress to sustain any veto he issues.

What he seems to lack is the gumption to act. Far more comfortable apparently is the uncertain paralysis in the face of Speaker Pelosi’s ideological approach. By taking a firm stand for the principle of low taxes upon which the Administration has built it’s economic policy during the past six years, and speaking with certainty on the Iraq conflict, Bush can remain relevant and even regain standing. Failure to stand with principle will leave Americans (and conservatives in particular) with a sour taste that may not be washed away by time.

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